One of the key ways to a great project is to have the drawings before contractors start giving you estimates. And the better and more detailed the drawings, the closer the estimate will be to the true cost. A great way to help you choose your designer is to look at their drawings. You don’t have to read the drawings, understand the project, or even like it. But you have to recognize what might be missing from the drawings. The more items the designer has specified, the more entrenched in your project they will probably be. And the closer the contractor’s bid will be to the final true cost.
For example, deos the bathroom remodel drawing just say “toilet” or does it specify which manufacturer, model, and color? The contractor might be thinking about the $100 toilet on sale at the hardware store, and you may be thinking about that $500 dual-flush toilet in the magazine, or the $300 model with a little added height at the seat. Even more important, do the drawings state the exact toilet because the designer has weighed the different options based on cost, water savings, flushing efficiency, and warranty? Looking over the drawings with your potential designer gives you more opportunity to find out which things your designer values, and also what it would be like working with the designer.